Category Archive: Our Member Stories: Paynode

  1. Direct2 Grows Business While Maintaining Safety and Flexibility

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    Who is Direct2 Airways

    Direct2 Air Taxi and Charter Flights is a pioneering aviation service provider offering convenient and personalized air travel solutions. Whether you need a quick point-to-point flight or a luxurious charter experience, Direct2 is your trusted partner in making air travel more accessible and enjoyable. This introduction gives you a glimpse into the world of Direct2 Air Taxi and Charter Flights, where convenience and quality come together to redefine how you travel by air.

    Direct2 specializes in air taxi services, providing a cost-effective and time-efficient alternative to traditional airline travel. Imagine skipping the long lines and security checks at major airports and enjoying the freedom to fly directly to your desired destination. With a fleet of modern and well-maintained aircraft, Direct2 ensures safety and comfort while delivering a personalized and flexible flying experience. Additionally, for those seeking luxury and privacy, the charter flights offered by Direct2 provide an exclusive way to travel tailored to your unique needs. Direct2 Air Taxi and Charter Flights is your gateway to hassle-free and customized air travel experiences, from business trips to leisure getaways.

    The Situation: Streamline the operation and bring a single source of truth to the operation

    Toby Woods, founder and CEO of Direct2, had the idea of providing shorter-hop regional air travel via Diamond DA62 aircraft. Since their founding in August 2021, Toby has worked to find aircraft to manage for owners, enhance their service offering, and expand their fleet of available aircraft. “The idea is to shrink the map and give people more time and allow them to do more things in their business and personal lives that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do at a price point that’s not available in the charter market,” is Toby’s fundamental idea. As part of a small team, Toby refers to himself as a “jack-of-all-trades” as a pilot, founder, CEO, and business developer. With these various tasks to focus on, Toby quickly recognized the need to utilize external tools to help him manage his fleet and business.

    Direct2 initially signed up for Schedaero as Toby felt that the platform solved many of their problems quickly and allowed them to grow as they integrated Avinode and Paynode to help them address additional challenges they have met.

    The Solution: Maximize efficiency and grow the business

    As Toby works with a lean team, he was able to accomplish his goals with the following steps:

    Avinode Group - the business aviation essentials.

    Streamline quotes and customer communication.

    Using Avinode as part of their workflow, Direct2 can streamline quoting charter flights and interacting with brokers or direct-to-consumer clients. They can also quickly get quotes out the door, so they don’t spend a lot of time on flights that they may not end up booking.

    By joining the Avinode Network, Direct2 saw an increase of 308% in 2023 compared to 2022 and appeared in over 500% more searches. This allowed them to maximize their exposure on a trusted network without traveling to meet potential new clients or spend extra money to advertise their services.
    Join the Avinode network

    Maintain trip accuracy.

    Schedaero allows Direct2 to ensure that flight logistics are on point and communicate accurate details to their pilots in real time. With eight remote pilots, Direct2 needs to ensure its team is kept in the loop around the clock regarding upcoming trips.

    The Schedaero Crew App is a user-friendly mobile application designed for efficient crew management in the aviation industry. It allows crew members to easily access and manage their schedules, flight details, and relevant documents on their mobile devices. The app streamlines communication and coordination with its intuitive interface and real-time updates, enhancing crew productivity and ensuring smooth operations.

    Have a look at the crew app

    safety and training image

    Maintain safety standards.

    Maintaining safety standards and compliance is a breeze for Direct2, thanks to Schedaero. Not only can the system notify/alert team members of upcoming certification requirements, but it can also notify dispatch of potential overages regarding pilot flight hours.

    Schedaero’s Missions functionality is a highly customizable feature that allows operators to assign mission categories, types, etc. It also allows users to add any particular qualifications/training items required to ensure crew members are properly trained for a specific type of flight.

    Learn more about maintaining compliance

    Payment workflow simplified.

    As a smaller operator, Direct2 must ensure that all payments are cleared before the planes even leave the ground. Thanks to Avinode Group’s payment solution, they maintain a transparent birdseye view of all payments.

    Additionally, by utilizing Paynode, Direct2 can provide its customers with secure payment options, whether by wire transfer or credit card.

    Get started with a simpler payment workflow

    Unlock new efficiency with online booking.

    The latest development from the team at Avinode Group, is online booking, which allows users to Select, Book, and Pay in one place. With online booking, you can modernly showcase your offer to clients, request payments from clients directly, simplify contracting with all details securely stored, and manage bookings from anywhere.

    Existing members should reach out their CSM to learn more. New customers can get in contact with us today!

    Avinode Group a partner in success for quoting and booking.

    “We didn’t have any preconceived notions or ideas about what software platforms we would use, what we would do for operations or sales and payment solutions. Originally, I came across the Schedaero product for flight operations, which was the most obvious thing that we needed help with and we just gave it a go. We don’t know anything else, and we were able to utilize Schedaero and then add in Avinode and Paynode as a very small operator, small scale, and it’s been able to grow with us and continue to provide a runway for growth for us as we continue to grow.”

    Toby Woods,
    Founder, Direct2

    Ready to start improving efficiency with us?

    At Avinode Group, we focus on enhancing business aviation for you and your customers. By using Avinode, Schedaero, and Paynode for your charter operations, our team ensures smooth communication between different departments, from quoting to scheduling and payment collection. Contact us today to discover how Avinode Group’s solutions can elevate your business operations.

  2. Odyssey Airways Experiences Growth as Part 135 Operator

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    Who is Odyssey Airways

    Odyssey Airways LLC, originally established as a corporate flight department in 2006 and based in Tampa, Florida, has evolved into a trusted partner for private jet brokers seeking exceptional service and flexibility. In 2013, Odyssey Airways achieved a significant milestone when it obtained its Part 135 certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), officially becoming an on-demand air carrier. Read more about Odyssey Airways

    In 2016, they forged a valuable partnership with Avinode Group, a move that significantly streamlined their quoting workflow. “At Odyssey Airways, we understand the unique needs of private jet brokers. Our commitment to adaptability, efficiency, and collaborative technology sets us apart as a reliable partner in the world of private air travel. We invite private jet brokers to experience the Odyssey difference and discover the advantages of working with a partner dedicated to making every mission a success,” says Ryan Gucwa.

    The Situation: Expanding the business and winning deals

    Like all operators in the charter business, speed is key to success. As Odyssey transitioned from a corporate flight department to a part 135 operator, they had to build a process that included trip sheets, formal quotes, contracts, and everything else that came with chartering a flight. While their ambition was to get quotes out the door and win deals quickly, their process was still very manual.

    Ryan Gucwa, founder of Odyssey Airways, recognized that their quoting process was extremely manual and time-consuming. He would track expenses and create pricing in sheets, convert to PDF to improve its appearance, and then send the quotes via email. As they got busier, his personal life began to be impacted as he tried to get quotes out quickly.

    “I knew if I didn’t get them out quickly enough, we wouldn’t get the deal. “

    Signing up for Avinode helped the company reach a new audience and generate quotes much quicker. But with more trips came new challenges, including but not limited to managing paperwork for each trip, such as contracts, trip sheets, and more. With all this new business, it became apparent they needed to simplify and streamline their daily operations.

    The Solution: Maximize efficiency with tools designed to simplify operations

    Odyssey Airways was able to grow its business and maximize its efficiency by:

    Reaching new customer segments.

    Using Avinode allowed them to quickly reach a new subset of brokers and generate additional business that allowed them to grow their business. As the world’s largest and most advanced air charter sales and sourcing platform, Avinode is where the bizav industry connects daily.
    Join the Avinode network

    Streamlining the charter sales workflow.

    For operators of all sizes, speed is key when converting quotes to trips. As of September 2023, Odyssey Airways has sent over 12,000 quotes, an increase of 42% over the same period in 2022. With Schedaero, the team at Odyssey Airways could execute more quotes in less time than it previously took by automating and streamlining the process. Schedaero allows users to improve their workflow when converting quotes to booked trips. Thanks to this workflow, Odyssey saw an increase of 28% in booked trips from 2022.

    Get started with a more efficient workflow

    Keeping pilots informed.

    While growing, Odyssey could see how Schedaero made communications between teams easier. Once trips are booked, dispatch can inform pilots of assigned trips seamlessly via the Crew App. The app notifies pilots of the upcoming trip and provides them with all the important information, such as the passenger details, trip sheets, and itinerary. Additionally, pilots can utilize the Schedaero Crew App to update duty and flight logs on their iOS devices from anywhere. Once updated, operators can view it at any one of their bases of operations.

    Have a look at the crew app

    A workflow with integrated payments.

    Payment fraud is not unusual in the business aviation industry due to its high-value transactions and time-sensitive nature. Odyssey Airways was once the subject of attempted fraud for nearly $80,000, ending with the company closing its bank account to avoid future fraud. This experience led the company to start using Avinode Group’s integrated payment solution, Paynode. This solution provides you with online currency accounts in your name to settle payments faster. This helps keep your funds available and working for you worldwide.

    Avoid fraud with integrated payments

    Providing a better and easier booking experience.

    Odyssey Airlines highlighted a common problem in the industry: working in multiple systems to complete the booking means there are more places for payments or tasks to fall through the cracks and be forgotten. Our newest development allows users to showcase their offer to clients through a digital end-to-end experience while they keep track of bookings and payment information – all in one place.

    Existing members should reach out their CSM to learn more. New customers can get in contact with us today!

    Ryan said, “We did have some instances where we were chasing down transactions that were missed in the process. Now, it’s all gathered in one place and in an online booking experience, which means there are fewer ways for things to slip through the cracks, and that’s been helpful on our side.”

    Avinode Group is a partner in success for quoting and booking.

    “Avinode was a game-changer because it gave me the problem of having too many quotes and made me realize I was not working in an efficient way. Schedaero really helped me create trip sheets and quotes that look professional, including my terms and conditions. As the company has grown and we’ve added more pilots, I’ve realized how great it is that the Crew App helps me relay information to pilots.“

    Ryan Gucwa,
    Founder, Odyssey Airways, LLC.

    More about Odyssey Airways

    With a well-maintained fleet of four aircraft, Odyssey Airways takes pride in its unique approach to private air travel. Unlike traditional carriers, Odyssey does not adhere to rigid flight schedules. Instead, they empower their customers with the freedom to fly on their own schedules, offering unparalleled flexibility and convenience.

    Beyond their owned aircraft, Odyssey boasts an extensive network of partner aircraft, ranging from helicopters to jets. This expansive network ensures they can meet the demands of private jet brokers and their clients promptly. Whether it’s a last-minute charter request or a planned mission, Odyssey Airways is equipped to deliver on-time, reliable service to destinations across the globe.

    Ready to start improving efficiency with us?

    Everything our team does is geared towards fixing the finer points of business aviation for you and your customers. Utilizing Avinode, Schedaero, and Paynode for your charter operations keeps communication flowing between departments, from quoting to scheduling and collecting payment. Connect with us to learn how Avinode Group solutions can improve your operation.

  3. Mike Prachar – How Paynode is proving to be the perfect payment partner for this fast-growing operator

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    Hi Mike. Can you tell us a little about Volato

    We are a full-service private aviation company that primarily operates the HondaJet. We offer fractional ownership, the Stretch Jet Card, charter and aircraft management. In our fractional program, by offering shares down to a 16th size, we remove the cost of entry barrier for more people who want to get involved and enjoy the benefits of private jet ownership.

    What’s special about our model is that owners in our fractional program can fly as little or as much as they like, and they earn a revenue share every time their aircraft flights a live mission – even when they fly. The HondaJet is perfect for four passenger missions, is 40% less expensive to operate, is quieter, and yet has all the comfort and luxury of larger jets.

    And I believe you’re growing fast

    Yes, we are. We’re getting a lot of requests for larger aircraft, which is something we weren’t planning to do right away, but we’ve listened to our customers.

    We have 11 HondaJets in the fleet with 18 more on order and we just announced our order for four Gulfstream G280s in a ten passenger configuration that we will also fractionalize.  

    Our charter operations incorporate an even broader range of modern aircraft. These are exciting times for sure.

    How did you first come to use Paynode?
    When we were exploring how to best manage payments on the charter side, it made sense to choose a solution that was as close to turnkey as you can get. Paynode was an easy choice for us because it ticked that box, plus we were already Schedaero and Avinode customers since day.

    With the revenue share model we offer, we want to fly our planes as much as possible to offset our owners’ costs. If they themselves only fly a little each year, the majority of their costs can be covered by us. That’s where Avinode and Paynode play a big part in our story.

    How about dealing with other brokers who are Paynode users?
    That’s something we’re not taking as much advantage of just now, but we hope to do more of in the future. We have a couple of customers buying from us through Paynode, and it’s so nice to avoid the whole wire situation. As Paynode’s footprint grows – especially here in the US – we’ll be doing even more of that for sure.

    What features would you say offer the biggest benefit to your business?

    Not so much a feature, but I find the entire process of managing a reservation very easy with Paynode.
    From placing a credit card hold, then either collecting the money on the card or, if the ACH comes in time, switching to that and being able to manage that as a single translation. In my opinion, that’s the most useful feature in terms of saving us time.

    Paynode also manages credit card holds seamlessly and removes the complexity that you find with the standard direct banking way of doing things.

    And what would you improve?

    There are a few improvements that I’d like to see which would enhance Paynode.

    Right now, there’s a ten day hold on the system, and it’s not always clear when these are going to expire. Some form of notification on this would be helpful. Also, if we have to do a refund there’s no way to do that or track it with Paynode. It would be nice if we could design something into the system that makes this easier to manage.

    Having said that, the overall concept of Paynode is really sound, and the feature set is very good. It would just be even better with these new additions.

    How have you found using the Paynode system?

    Personally, I was shown the system, and was up and running right away. It’s that straightforward. Part of the beauty of Paynode is that you train your team – like we did with our Charter Sales team – and it just works.

    It enables them to always be fully aware of what’s happening. They can access the payment mechanisms and know when cash comes in, without having to go back and forth to accounting all the time. Also, we don’t have to give every team member access to more of the financial system than they need.

    So, you’re happy with what Paynode brings to Volato

    Absolutely. The integration with Avinode is a big deal for us. Avinode is one of our key input streams for charter business and as long as there continues to be enough business for us on the platform, we’re happy there.

    We have a number of accounts payable and accounts receivable mechanisms in and out of the company, and we’re very happy keeping the charter business on Paynode. We haven’t found the need to look for a better solution, and I don’t think there even is one that’s more tailored to the charter industry.

  4. Becky Bakeman – How Paynode helps keep things simple for this complex business.

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    I see that RAI Jets has a very broad remit, Becky

    Yes, we do a lot of different things. There’s aircraft charter, aircraft management and maintenance, we have hanger space, and we have our own fuel farm so we can fuel our aircraft and those of our hanger tenants. 

    Our main base is in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but we also manage the airport for the city of Sturgis. 

    You’ve been an Avinode member for many years too

    Oh yes, it seems like forever! We’ve also been using Schedaero for a long time – we’re probably one of the first customers. 

    We’ve had nothing but good experiences with Avinode and Schedaero, so it was a simple decision to also begin using Paynode. I think I first heard about Paynode through an email from the Avinode guys, or maybe at the Scheduler Dispatcher convention, but I’m glad we made the leap because it’s changed our business massively.

    What was life like before Paynode?

    As a business, we use a smaller bank – a credit union – and in the past, getting funds wired was not as simple as it should be. Also, we couldn’t accept credit card payments through the bank, so we had to use our own credit card machine. We even tried the credit card payment functionality of our accounting program, but that too was far from ideal. 

    There are many strands to your business. What challenges does that pose and how does Paynode help with these?

    Obviously we see a lot of funds coming in all the time, and we also send a lot out as well, so Paynode helps us keep track of everything.

    There’s also plenty of paperwork to do. With Paynode, it’s so nice to have all our documentation already filled out for the companies we work with regularly. I’d say that having all that information saved – so I don’t have to type it in every time when dealing with a repeat customer – is the feature I love best about Paynode. 

    The old way would see me complete a form by hand, scan it in, then fax it to my bank because they wouldn’t accept email. Then I’d have to wait for them to call me back, review the form with me and make sure I am who I say I am before approving the release of funds. Even then, things didn’t always go smoothly. 

    Now, I just go into Paynode, fill out the information once and hit send. Then I get my email confirmation. It’s that easy. 

    So no more having to deal with banks around incoming funds

    Thankfully not. In the past, our credit union used an intermediary bank, so funds would go to a bigger bank first, then to our bank, then into our account. 

    The problem is that there’s often a step that customers would miss, so the funds would go to the big bank and sit there in limbo because they didn’t know where to put them. I would have to make countless phone calls to sort things out.

    Now, with Paynode, I have no issues. The funds go in and we’re ready to go.

    It must be nice having everything in one system

    Yes, it really is. I like to have all my charter funds in one place so when I reconcile that account, all I’m looking at are my flights. 

    In my other bank I have all sorts of funds going in and out – everything from buying jet fuel and landing fees to catering and office supplies – so it’s very helpful to isolate those funds that are specifically related to our aircrafts’ movements.

    Are there any other features in Paynode that you find really useful?

    In the past, once every couple of years, I’d have a customer in, say Canada, trying to send me funds. It was always a fiasco. But with Paynode there’s no problem thanks to the different currency accounts we have set up. Dealing with different currencies is now effortless.

    Would you recommend Paynode to other companies in the aviation space?

    I would definitely recommend Paynode. It’s simple and makes life easier. 

    For us – because we also use Avinode and Schedaero – everything is joined up and it  works so well. There are so many little details that save us time. For example, I know that all my wire information is on my quotes, which is one less thing for me to think about. 

    The good thing is that I’m starting to see a lot more companies coming onboard now. It used to be that I was the only one in my network that I saw with the little Paynode symbol, but that’s defiantly changing.

    Want to simplify your payments? Join Paynode today. No fee to sign up, no subscription costs, and no monthly minimums. It’s all included in your Avinode membership. Read more here.

  5. Ronny Dominguez – How Paynode is the perfect payment partner for this fast growing brokerage.

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    I believe Moonlight Jet is a new name in the industry, Ronny.

    That’s right. We’re a charter brokerage company which only started trading in January 2022. We’re in the early stages of the business, but already things are going really well.

    Have you been using Paynode since the start?

    Not since day one, but from very early on. We did maybe five transactions before moving to Paynode and enjoying the benefits of having a dedicated payment system.

    Can you tell us what a typical transaction looked like before Paynode? 

    I’ll give you the example of our very first payment as a company. 

    The online bank we were using – which didn’t offer a payment solution – was based in the US and only accepted payments in US dollars. Our client was flying from Switzerland to France and wanted to pay in either Swiss francs or euros. I ended up having to meet the client in person and use a credit card terminal to charge him in Swiss francs. 

    While this was far from ideal, it did act as the catalyst to find a more stable solution.

    How did you hear about Paynode?

    I was doing my research into payment solutions which incorporated credit card payments and transactions. I have a background in finance and accounting, so I had a really clear idea of what we needed. 

    At the time, we had just starting using Avinode. I was looking through all the support materials and instructions and I saw that there was a payment solution linked to Avinode. It seemed perfect for us, so I contacted the Paynode team to find out more and we went from there.

    Did you find Paynode easy to use?

    Yes, given my experience with many other finance and payment systems, I found it straightforward to use. You run your KYB form, set up your account and the different currency accounts you want, and away you go.

    But I have to say, the training and support is also excellent. The Paynode guys are truly knowledgeable and have been able to answer even some very specific questions I’ve had. If I have any issues, I know they’ll be resolved within a few hours.

    What is your favourite Paynode feature?

    It’s so useful being able to easily trade currencies in the system – to buy, sell and move your money around. You can see the rates for that day, as well as days in advance, so you can always get the best rate at the right time. The fact that all this happens in real-time, is great.

    Another cool feature is when buying a long trip – the figures we’re talking about can be big – Paynode gives you the option to hold an amount on the credit card while you wait for the wire transfer payment to come in. This gives some guarantee for us brokers and the operators.

    I also like the security features. When generating a payment link in the system, there’s an in-built internal approval process, which helps make the entire process safe and secure for everyone. 

    And what feature would you like to see in future?

    I’d love it if American companies were able to send payment requests in different currencies for credit cards. That would be a big win for all involved.

    What would you say to other brokers or operators who are considering Paynode? 

    I would tell them that in my research, there’s nothing else like Paynode on the market.

    From experience, it’s perfect for new start-up companies who are very flexible. For bigger businesses that are more established, it may be a little trickier to incorporate a new system, but Paynode will help them grow and save them time and money. It will also really help their accounting team to consolidate accounts at the end of each month. 

    Another thing that I’ve seen is that Paynode becomes a key central point for clients, brokers and suppliers. It’s a go-to application that brings all parties together.

    Is that because people trust Paynode?

    For sure. The Paynode symbol creates credibility. For me as a broker, I know that the operator must feel comfortable even if the payment is not yet secure. Paynode gives them that piece of mind.

    Want to simplify your payments? Join Paynode today. No fee to sign up, no subscription costs, and no monthly minimums. It’s all included in your Avinode membership. Read more here.

  6. Brad Searls – How being part of the Avinode system means you can trust in Paynode. 

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    You’ve been in the charter business for more than two decades, Brad 

    That’s right, I’ve been a pilot for many, many years, before recently founding The Jet Guys. We’re a charter brokerage company and we also advertise aircraft management for part 91 use only. Although we’re in our early years, we’re seeing some really encouraging growth. 

    Were you familiar with Avinode from your time flying?

    Yes, I was. When working for another company about seven years ago – I was a captain on one of their planes plus I took care of the charter brokering side of things for them – I suggested using Avinode. Then, when I started The Jet Guys, I went straight back to Avinode because it’s the biggest and the best out there in my opinion. 

    Is that how you heard about Paynode?

    It was, yes. We were looking for the most trusted way for clients to pay us and for us to pay operators. Also, being able to accept credit cards from clients was key to us. 

    Paynode ticked all these boxes and offered the bonus of being linked with the Avinode system, which means we can do everything in one place. I don’t know of any other platform right now that offers what Avinode and Paynode do.

    How do you find Paynode to use?

    It’s simple and intuitive. There have been a few occasions where I’ve had to call on the Paynode team for support – I had issues with a couple of last minute wires and the guys were great and even helped speed things up – but really, I’ve had no troubles with the system.

    And have you seen the benefits that come with using Paynode?

    For sure. Paynode creates great efficiencies for us in the way we wire funds, handle credit card payments and can make currency exchanges if we need to in the future. I’ve not had to use my local bank for any of these tasks, thanks to Paynode.

    Being able to request payments from the client directly in the system is so quick and easy. Just sending them that link saves me having to leave the system. The credit card feature also saves me time when I’m doing follow up billing for catering and ground transportation. 

    Are there any issues that could be looked at to make Paynode better?

    I think the only hiccup is around when funds are released to me. If someone wants to pay for a flight with a credit card, I always have to front the amount because I don’t receive the money in time to pay the operator several days prior to the trip. 

    That’s not just a Paynode thing, I’ve looked at other merchant accounts and it seems like they too – for that amount of money – want to hold it for a period for security reasons. I understand that’s how things are, but it would be great if it wasn’t the case.

    So, you’re looking forward to seeing a greater take-up of Paynode across the industry?

    I really am. I would say to brokers and operators everywhere that signing up to Paynode will simplify life for us all – especially when dealing with last minute trip requests around the weekend where banks are closed and the operators wants their money. 

    There have been several occasions where I’ve wished an operator had Paynode because I could pay them instantly, no matter what day it is. I want them to be paid and happy, and to know that they’re dealing with a good broker they can trust. Paynode is key to this. 

    Want to simplify your payments? Join Paynode today. No fee to sign up, no subscription costs, and no monthly minimums. It’s all included in your Avinode membership. Read more here.